Tuesday, February 8, 2011


When my parents were visiting last fall, we took them to a different spot for sightseeing each weekend. I shared the photos from Canne della Battaglia with you at the time, but nothing else, so I thought I'd take you on an occasional tour around Puglia.

One of the most interesting sites in our region is the small town of Alberobello, the trullo town.

All of the houses in the historic center of this little fairy-tale town have these unique cone-shaped roofs, called trullos.

Many of them have pagan or magical signs whitewashed onto them. There are lots of theories about the meanings of these symbols - and, of course, the locals will sell you books explaining them - but really the origins of the symbols are lost in the mists of time.

What is also a mystery is why, indeed, this particular style of construction developed here, and only here. It is not found anywhere else in the world, except for those places where people from here have built themselves a trullo, perhaps to remind themselves of home.

Legend has it that due to a high tax on property back in the Middle Ages, the people of the Itria Valley created these roofs of limestone slabs piled one atop the other without any mortar holding them together so that they could be dismantled when tax inspectors were in the area. Apparently, the townsfolk were taxed per roof . . . no roof, no tax.

People were smaller back then, right?

Do you believe in magic?

There's even a trullo church!
Alberobello makes a great day trip if you are in the area. There are lots of shops selling local crafts, such as miniature ceramic trullos or beautiful handmade crocheted linens. Don't forget to sneak down the side streets, too, where you can see how the townspeople really live their lives in this fairy-tale town.


Dana said...

Thanks for the sneak peak. I am anxious to visit these this summer . . . so intriguing to me.

shopgirl said...

Very interesting! I never knew about the legend of the tax man.

I always learn something interesting from you Sara!


Lola said...

Sooooo enchanting!

Francesca said...

I didn't know about the tax legend either. Kind of handy to be able to build and dismantle your (conic) roof just like that! :)

Couture Carrie said...

What gorgeous architecture!

Thanks for sharing these pics!